Green senators challenge budget plans
Greens (WA) senators Dee Margetts and Christabel Chamarette have released an alternative analysis of the economy, challenging many of the government's basis assumptions informing the May budget plans. The senators have also rejected participation in any formal consultation process, citing the need for a completely new framework to determine fiscal priorities.
A paper released by Margetts rejects government thinking on the problems of national savings, unemployment and cutting spending on services. The paper, written by associate professor of economics Frank Stilwell, favours an approach oriented to environmental preservation and social justice.
The Greens are refusing to support any further cutback in basic community services, health or education, explaining that there is a significant need to expand these services. According to the paper, public polling points to the environment, health, education and social justice as areas for more spending, and cuts to spending on bureaucratic administration, defence and industry subsidy.
The only area nominated in the paper for a cut in spending is defence, currently 10% of budget spending.
The Greens have rejected imposition of a compulsory employee superannuation levy, explaining that it will hit ordinary people by reducing their income, while high earners who already pay voluntary superannuation will be unaffected.
Explaining their decision not to be involved in any formal budget process, Margetts said, "It is largely a result of this fundamental difference in analysis and our strong wish not to be coopted into a system so lacking in basic values and common sense". n